The U.S. Pizza Team (USPT) hosted the 2019 Northeast U.S. Pizza Cup on Monday, August 26, at the Pizza University & Culinary Arts Center in Beltsville, Maryland. With the help of Marra Forni and the Pizza University, the USPT sought out the best pizza-making talent to represent the United States at the European Pizza & Pasta Show in London, England, in November.
Droves of the best pizzaioli from all over the country competed in the Pizza Classica category. Working with high-heat ovens, these pizza chefs built and baked their best pizzas in 12 minutes using ingredients and sauces of their choice. The only stipulations? They had to keep their pie between 12”-14”, round and bake on the oven stone. The grand prize was a trip to compete in the European Pizza Championship for international bragging rights.
Felice Colucci, Resident Instructor at the Pizza University and Culinary Director for Marra Forni said, “We were really excited to host this event. We saw a lot of great pizzas from all over the country. The variety of pizza was astounding. everything from spicy sausage, to southern crawfish, to pies with watermelon.”
In the end, simpler is better. Top honors went to a Maryland local, Patrick Maggi, of Maggi’s Pizza in Damascus.Patrick wowed the panel of seasoned judges with his “Maryland Margherita”. Consisting of nothing more than extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan, shredded and fresh mozzarella, imported feta, homegrown Maryland tomatoes, spices and basil, Maggi was able to beat out his competitors and seize the grand prize to compete in London this November.
When asked about the thought process of bringing such a simple recipe, Maggi said, “This time of year we make so many of these pizzas because it’s such a light pie. When you get a heavy pie in the summertime, you almost feel like you don’t want to eat it. With the Maryland Margherita, you could almost eat the whole pie by yourself.”
Second place went to USPT veteran Tore Trupiano of Mangia E Bevi in San Diego for his pie featuring 5 grain dough, mozzarella, nduja sausage, and colored with cipollini onions, Calabrian chilis, black lava salt, microgreens, and saffron passito reduction. Third place was taken by Craig Allenbaugh of Sauced Wood Fired Pizza in Fair View Park, Ohio. Allenbaugh’s pie was cooked in a wood fired oven at 800° and showcased a wild mushroom blend, fresh shaved Asiago and Parmesan, parsley, rosemary, and truffle oil.
The top 3 honorable mentions (in order) were Joey Karvelas , Karvelas Pizza, Ga.; Dave Sommers, Mad Mushroom, In.; Deserai Satullo, Sauced Woodfired Pizza, Ohio.
Also competing in the Northeast U.S. Pizza Cup: David Conti, Red Planet Pizza & BBQ, Conn.; Daniel Saccone, Saccone’s Pizza, Texas.; Gail Churinetz, Gail’s Pizza Parties, Tenn.; Brandon Davis, Novella’s Pizza, Mich.; Sean Dempsey, Danger Von Dempseys, S.D.; Jeremy Corbin, Sloopy’s Sports Café, Ohio; George Taylor, Taylor’s Neighborhood Pizza and Sandwich Shoppe, N.Y.; Jason Samosky, Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria, Ohio; Joe Schilling, Saint Giuseppe’s Heavenly Pizza, Ill.
Teams of pizzaioli compete annually in London at the European Pizza and Pasta Show for the coveted title of European Pizza Champion. The 2018 European Pizza Championship hosted teams from all over the world, including the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, the UK, and others.
The 2019 Northeast U.S. Pizza Cup was supported by PMQ, Marra Forni and the Pizza University & Culinary Arts Center. The U.S. Pizza Team is sponsored by Galbani, Grain Craft, Ferrarelle, Real California Milk, Gordon Food Service, LaNova, Paradise Tomato Kitchens, MFG Tray, Burkett Restaurant Equipment and Supplies, Bag Solutions, Lillsun, Univex, Presto Foods and Sofo Foods.
To see a photo gallery of the event visit uspizzateam.com/2019-northeast-u-s-pizza-cup/